Sunday, November 13, 2005

Two plus two equals?

It now seems pretty clear that Thursday's suicide attacks in Amman, Jordan, were carried out by Iraqis. President Bush has already made reference to these attacks in his Veteran's Day speech.
In the past few months, we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh, another deadly strike in Bali, and this week, a series of bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed dozens of innocent Jordanians and their guests.
Bush mentions this attack as part of his continuing justification for his aggressive approach towards terrorism. It reinforces his determination to give no ground in his "war" against terror. It is, for George, a reminder of the need to stay the course, to continue to show resolve until the job is done.

In a way, I can see how this appears to make sense. Attacks like these are a stark reminder of the dangers of terrorism and of the need to combat it. That isn't in dispute.

What is in dispute is Dubya's ability to combat terrorism effectively. For me, the attacks on Jordan are a sure sign that we're a step closer to the self-fulfilling prophesy I mentioned in the previous post. The President no doubt believes that the squeeze he has applied has flushed the terrorists out of hiding and forced them to act. He believes that he'll eventually win if he just keeps squeezing hard enough.

I fear that the second possibility, that his aggressive actions have created a new generation of terrorists among people who would never before have considered becoming suicide bombers, has not been considered by the President and his advisers. That is, in my opinion, what has actually been happening in the last two years. And I fear it's going to get a lot worse if the US and UK continue with their current strategy.

In some ways, this might be considered a matter of opinion and maybe it is. There are, however, a number of facts which can at least throw a little extra light on the subject. Firstly, how many Iraqi suicide bombers carried out attacks in Jordan before the invasion of Iraq? The answer is none as far as I'm aware. How many Iraqis carried out suicide bombings in total before the invasion? I don't actually know the exact number but I do know that it's a very small number indeed. In fact, I have a suspicion that it might also be zero (but I'm not claiming to be sure of that). There is certainly nothing to suggest that Iraqis had joined the Jihadis in any significant numbers before the invasion.

Two and a half years after the invasion, Iraqi suicide bombers are an almost daily occurrence in Iraq itself and we've now had the first ever Iraqi suicide bombers in a neighbouring country. In short, a country with no history of suicide bombing is now plauged with them and starting to export them to its neighbours. This can only cause greater instability in the region and it only started to happen after the invasion. These facts don't prove anything but I believe they do lend support to my view.

There are also a number of historical precedents for just this sort of counter-productive counter-terrorism. Ten points if you can suggest one. (I hope that doesn't sound smug and patronising. Apologies if it does, it isn't my intention. I've written too many long posts recently so I'm trying to keep this concise.)

Finally, I thought I'd quote the bearded coward himself. In Febuary 2003, just before the invasion, he took time out of his busy hiding in caves schedule to make a statement. There's lots of it. Here are a couple of highlights.
Needless to say, this crusade war is primarily targeted against the people of Islam.
I'd say this is a lie. Most people reading this would probably agree, but that's sort of irrelevant. Bin Laden and his followers almost certainly believe it and, *more importantly*, many people in Iraq also believe it. What's more, it becomes more convincing as the US/UK military attitude becomes more and more heavy handed and indiscriminate in its reaction to the terrorism/insurgency. It's all part of the plan as far as Bin Laden and his cronies are concerned. "Squeeze away Mr Bush", they'll say, "the harder the better".

This final quote really nails down the self-fulfilling prophesy element for me.
Under these circumstances, there will be no harm if the interests of Muslims converge with the interests of the socialists in the fight against the crusaders, despite our belief in the infidelity of socialists. The jurisdiction of the socialists and those rulers has fallen a long time ago. Socialists are infidels wherever they are, whether they are in Baghdad or Aden. [my emphasis]
As was widely reported when the US government originally claimed that Saddam was linked with Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden actually hated Saddam and his regime. Now some people will claim that this was another lie from beardie but that doesn't accord with what independent experts were saying. The experts believed it to be true. In any event, as I understand it, the term "infidel" is not used lightly by such people. They hated each other.

But the actions of the US and UK governments created the "circumstances" which drove the Jihadis into co-operation with the secular, socialist Baathists. There was no co-operation before the invasion. There is now. Self-fulfilling prophesies tend to work that way.

This isn't the post about the terrorist point of view which I said I was going to write in the previous post. Instead, it's a sort of link between the previous post and that new one (which I'll probably write tomorrow).

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